The U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT):

Expanding Job Outsourcing and Corporate Attacks on Our Laws

Did financial entanglements with China delay Trump's promised tough-on-China trade policy? Follow the money. Download the report.

The U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) is a prospective deal that has been under negotiation since 2008. The China BIT would make it easier for multinational corporations to outsource more American jobs to China. It includes special investor protections for U.S. corporations that would make it cheaper and less risky to relocate production to China, where wages are low and independent unions are non-existent.

It also includes the controversial corporate tribunals formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) — which would allow Chinese corporations operating in the United States to demand unlimited U.S. taxpayer compensation for U.S. laws and policies that claim violate their new treaty rights. The deal would grant new rights to Chinese multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” the U.S. government before a panel of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by America's taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. These corporations need only convince the lawyers that a U.S. law or safety regulation that we rely on for a clean environment, essential services and healthy communities violates their new treaty rights. These decisions are not subject to outside appeal and the amount they can order taxpayers to give corporations has no limit.

According to Public Citizen’s new database on the footprint of Chinese investment in the United States, total investment reached more than $45 billion in 2016, including more than 40 acquisitions of American assets worth at least $50 million each, a high-water mark for inbound investment. Chinese investors have entered U.S. sectors similar to those in which foreign investors have launched the most egregious ISDS cases worldwide, such as energy and pharmaceuticals.

Take action to stop the U.S.-China BIT.

President Trump — who promised voters he would fix our broken trade policy, particularly with China — has conspicuously not announced U.S. withdrawal from the China BIT negotiations. Notably, Trump’s Cabinet is filled with employees from scandal-riddled Goldman Sachs, a banking giant that has been lobbying for the China BIT for years. For more than a year, Trump’s top economic advisor was former Goldman Sachs CEO Gary Cohn, who received a $285 million departure package from the corporation before joining the administration. Cohn reportedly shut down plans to terminate the China BIT negotiations in 2017. Public Citizen has documented Trump Cabinet members’ and top advisers’ longstanding financial entanglements with the Chinese government and government-connected firms.

The Trump administration has proposed eliminating ISDS in its NAFTA renegotiations, but thus far has failed to end the China BIT and its potential expanseion of the controversial system.

If concluded, the China BIT would be a dangerous expansion of corporate power, threatening consumers, workers and the environment. That’s why the Citizens Trade Campaign — a coalition of environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious, and other civil society groups representing 12 million members — has called for an end to negotiations.

 Video: Is Wall Street derailing Trump’s China trade agenda?
 


 

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